Rabbit teeth facts
- Dental formula – Adult rabbits have a total of 28 teeth with a dental formula of 2(2/1 0/0 3/2 3/3) = 28 while kits have is 2 (2/1 0/0 3/2) = 16
- Rabbit teeth growth – They continuously grow with incisors growing at 2-2.4mm per week. Cheek teeth grow slower with mandibular ones growing at 3-4mm per month and the maxillary ones erupt or grow even slower.
- Do rabbit kits teeth – Yes. They are born with 16 deciduous teeth with the incisors shed off just before or immediately after birth and the last deciduous tooth is shed by the 35th
- Do they have canine – No these animals do not have canines. They only have a long gap, the diastema, between their incisors and premolars both on their upper and lower dental arches or curves.
Wild European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are folivores that depend on tough fibrous foods which consist of predominantly grasses and leafy greens and a few roots and barks when grasses and leafy vegetations are scarce such as during winter.
On the other hand, domestic ones which to do not graze have grassy hays forming the bulk of their diet with some amounts of alfalfa-based hays, a few treats of non-leafy vegetables and fruits given to them. Otherwise, their teeth will be overgrown if they do not have fibrous diets.
To help handle these kinds of foods, their teeth are functionally and anatomically adapted. Therefore, you need to ensure you include enough of the fibrous foods to your bunny’s diet. The fiber in bunnies diet is also important in ensuring gut motility and a healthy gut while eliminating the chances of GI stasis.
Since they have a small blind spot angle right in front of their mouth area, due to their eye location, they use their sensitive whiskers (vibrissae) on their lips to find food.
Once they have sensed their food, they use their prehensile lips to grasp the food before incisors cuts or bites it and moves it to premolars and molars using their tongue for grinding, chewing or mastication.
Do rabbit teeth keep growing
Yes. They continually grow. This is one of the physiological adaptations that these lagomorphs have, and it is important in supporting the kind of diet they depend on.
The bulk of their diet is made of mainly grasses (monocotyledonous) and some growing vegetations as already mentioned, these foods are high fiber and low to moderate energy sources. Therefore, these animals must eat a lot of these grasses for survival.
Furthermore, the silicate deposits (phytoliths) found in large amounts on these grasses, their fibrous nature, and the larger volume required mean prolonged chewing. The prolonged chewing wears their teeth down considering attrition and abrasive forces during chewing.
To compensate for the wearing down, all their permanent teeth are termed as elodont, i.e., they are ever-growing with open roots, i.e., they have open apices that do not form true roots (they are aradicular). The part embedded into the jaw is often referred to as a reserve crown.
They are ever growing because they have a germinal tissue found on the teeth’ apices whose role is to continuously form enamel which covers the root making part of the tooth beneath and above gumline similar (white).
For instance, the incisors can grow at a rate of about 2mm to 2.4mm per week. However, the cheek ones (premolars and molars) grow at a slower rate with the mandibular ones growing at about 3-4 mm a month while the maxillary erupts much slower  than mandibular ones.
One research has placed the growth rate at 1.9mm per week and 2.2mm per week for upper and lower incisors respectively while premolars at 2.14 mm per week with a plus or minus margin of 0.28 mm per week. This study is linked to diets given.
Rabbit dental formula and anatomy
How many teeth do rabbits have? If you did not know or you assumed that they have 32 teeth like human beings, the truth is that an adult rabbit has 28 teeth forming a natural curve.
As we have mentioned, they are elodont (grow continuously) and are aradicular (open-rooted). They also have a long crown (hypsodont). Before we state their dental formula, we need to elaborate.
These pets have a total of six unpigmented incisors. Four on their top jaw (maxilla ) and two on their mandible (lower jaw). The upper incisors are set in a way that there are a longer outer curved set of two incisors and right behind them, there are shorter peg-like incisors often referred as to ‘peg teeth’ or auxiliary incisors, typical to most lagomorphs.
Although both the upper and lower incisors are chisel-like, the upper ones shorter than the lower ones. Also, the auxiliary incisors prevent the lower incisors from injuring the palate.
In these animals, the incisors and molars have different functions, i.e., there is the “cheeks fold in behind the incisors separating the front of the oral cavity from the more caudal section, thereby permitting separate function of the incisors and back teeth.”
Finally, the incisors help in mainly slicing food laterally and they are set in such a way that while jaws are at rest, the lower incisors are placed just behind the upper ones in contact with the peg teeth.
These animals do not have canines. In place for canines, they have a long gap or diastema. The diastema is typical in not only lagomorphs but also in rodents.
Cheek teeth (premolars and molars)
They consist of the premolars and molars. They are anatomically similar, and it is not easy to differentiate them. The occlusal surface (surface for chewing) of the mandibular teeth curves towards the cheeks (curve buccally) while the one for maxillary teeth curves towards the tongue (curve lingually).
Their irregular occlusal surface gives them a rough surface over which fibrous and course food is ground using side-to-side chewing movement (to crush and shear food). While the jaw is in resting position, upper and lower premolars and molars do not touch since the lower jaw is narrower than the upper one (anisognathism).
However, during chewing (side to side movement), they do come in contact to help grind food by “the movement of the mandible caudally and shifting of the condyloid process into a step of the temporal joint surface.” 
As we have mentioned, these animals have a long gap or diastema which is also found in rodents and other herbivores. Bunnies have three premolars on their upper jaw and two on their lower jaw.
They work together with premolars as one functional unit. They have three molars on the maxilla and three on their mandible.
Rabbit dental formula
Therefore, an adult’s rabbit dental formula is 2(2/1 0/0 3/2 3/3) = 28. This answers the question, how teeth do bunnies have. However, this is not the case for baby rabbits. We will answer that shortly.
Do rabbits teeth
Yes. Bunnies teeth i.e., they are diphyodont. Their deciduous teeth are smaller in size and they erupt while the kit is still in the mother’s womb and they are replaced by permanent adult teeth. The deciduous teeth have little clinical significance.
The deciduous incisors will begin to shed just before or immediately after birth. However, the last deciduous premolars may take up to 35 days before they are all shed (about a month)
Therefore a baby rabbit has a total of 16 deciduous teeth with the dental formula is 2 (2/1 0/0 3/2).
Rabbit teeth images and pictures
We have included the below rabbit teeth diagram (images and pictures) to help you see how the incisors, premolars, and molars are placed on these animals’ upper and lower jaws.
Rabbit dental chart
While checking and caring for your rabbit’s teeth, a dental chart may be handy. Download yours today to monitor occlusion, gingiva, mobility, furcation, calculus, and plague since they are all important in ensuring healthy rabbit teeth.
There is also another useful downloadable assessment chart which will be helpful just like the one above and will ensure your bunny’s oral and dental health.